In many ways, Christmas is ridiculous. Unless you’re a seriously rebellious type you’re forced by tradition, expectation and inertia to buy gifts you don’t want to buy and often can’t afford, for people who don’t really want them! Crazy. But millions of us slot into Christmas mode every year – we’re stuck with it.
One good way to kick the habit is to buy gifts for the kids and agree between you to stop buying presents for the grown ups. Which is exactly what we’ve done… what a relief!
But if you’re stuck in the festive rut and don’t feel you can escape without causing offence, what do you do when you’re left with a bunch of gifts you won’t use? Do you stick them in a cupboard to suffer a lingering death for the next decade? Or make good use of them?
It’s terribly wasteful to just chuck things out. But what about giving them away or selling them… or even swapping them? Here are some ideas.
1. Get busy on Ebay in the New Year and sell on unwanted gifts, so someone who genuinely wants them can get pleasure out of them.
2. Give them away to a charity shop, school, nursery, care home, animal shelter or community centre so they contribute to a good cause.
3. Are you ancient enough to remember the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop from the 1970s, with Keith Chegwin and Noel Edmonds? When I was little it was the most exciting show on the planet, must-have viewing for every child in the country on Saturday mornings, way before daytime TV was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
You’d take your unwanted toys and games down the local park, where the TV cameras had set up, and swap stuff with other kids. If you were lucky you’d get on telly doing your swap, resplendent in ’70s tank top and flares, with vast curvy shirt collars flapping in the breeze.
My point? Set up a ‘swap-shop’ at home, invite your friends and rellies and swap to your heart’s content. What a laugh, especially when there’s a few drinks involved!